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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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FlagPost — Parliamentary Library Blog

Australia's first Parliament: Her Majesty's loyal opposition

With the news in December 1900 that Governor-General Lord Hopetoun had invited Edmund Barton to form a protectionist ministry, George Reid assumed the mantle of de facto leader of the Free Traders and, therefore, of the official Opposition.[1] Reid’s task was a difficult one, as he later observed: The prestige attaching to such an able collection of Ministerial talent was enhanced by a general desire to give the first Ministry of Australia a fair trial. As a Ministry, it had no past and a flying start.[2] Barton and his ministry were able to hold office prior to any election by operation section 64 of the Constitution. Sworn into office on 1 January 1901, Barton’s interim minist... Read more...

Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment (Land Scheduling) Bill 2018

The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment (Land Scheduling) Bill 2018 (the Bill) was introduced in the Senate on 5 December 2018. It contains one item in one Schedule that amends the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (the Act) to add 3,105 hectares of land within Ammaroo Station to Part 4 of Schedule 1 of the Act, so that they can be granted as Aboriginal land. This fulfils the Ammaroo Indigenous Land Use Agreement made in October 2014. That agreement exchanges any exclusive native title held by the Kayteyte Alyawarr Awenyerraperte Ingherr-Wenh Aboriginal Corporation over approximately 193 km2 of former stock routes on the Ammaroo station,  for Land Ri... Read more...

New Zealand and Federation

While New Zealand participated in the Australasian Federation Conference convened in Melbourne in 1890, it had little real enthusiasm for the prospect of federating with the Australian colonies. As Sir John Hall, then Premier of New Zealand and one of two New Zealand delegates to the Conference, observed: Nature has made 1200 impediments to the inclusion of New Zealand in any such Federation in the 1,200 miles of stormy ocean which lie between us and our brethren in Australia.That does not prevent the existence of a community of interests between us. There is a community of interest, and if circumstances allow us at a future date to join in the federation, we shall be only too glad to do so... Read more...

United States Senate shows President a red light on war powers as Labor promises a war powers inquiry in Australia

On 13 December 2018, the United States Senate passed a Resolution directing the US President to withdraw US armed forces from hostilities in Yemen. Although it will need to pass the House of Representatives before becoming law, the Resolution is historic because it is the first time that the Senate has voted to use the US War Powers Resolution to restrict a President’s use of military force. Australia does not have an equivalent law, however, the December National Labor Party Conference resolved that a Shorten Labor Government would hold an inquiry into how Australia makes decisions to send service personnel into international armed conflict.   Read more...

Career backgrounds of Australia’s Governors-General

On 16 December 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the Queen had approved his recommendation that the next Governor-General would be His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley, AC DSC (Retd). This Flagpost provides information on the career backgrounds of Australia's Governors-General. Read more...

Top gearing: negative gearing of residential property by electorate

Commentary abounds on the extent of negative gearing in Australia. This post explains what negative gearing means, and how many taxpayers in each electorate are using it in relation to their residential property investment. Read more...

Release of the 2018-19 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook

The Government released the 2018–19 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) on 17 December 2018. This brief provides an overview of the key fiscal and economic numbers from the 2018–19 MYEFO with a summary of key data in the tables below. Read more...

Community attitudes towards violence against women

The National Community Attitudes toward Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) is the world’s longest-running survey of community attitudes towards violence against women. Results from the latest survey are mixed; levels of awareness have generally risen but there are still areas of concern. Read more...

Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Legislation Amendment Bill 2018

The Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 was introduced in the House of Representatives on 28 November 2018 by the Attorney-General. The Bill seeks to amend the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act 2018 (FITS Act) and the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Act 2018 (NSLA Act). The Bill is supported by the Opposition and passed the House of Representatives on 4 December 2018. Read more...

The use of weapons and use of force by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service

The Government introduced the Intelligence Services Amendment Bill 2018 on 29 November 2018. The Bill is being considered by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security and is listed for debate in both Houses of Parliament this week. The key amendments in the Bill include allowing: the Minister for Foreign Affairs to specify additional persons (or classes of persons) who may be protected by Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) staff members and agents outside Australia under Schedule 2 to the Intelligence Services Act 2001 (ISA) (which provides for limited provision of weapons, and use of and training in the use of weapons and self-defence technique... Read more...

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